Lismore artist Geoff Hannah has turned his hand, lathe and other intricate tools to making exquisite timber cabinets that have caught the imagination of people and critics across the world. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Lismore artist Geoff Hannah has turned his hand, lathe and other intricate tools to making exquisite timber cabinets that have caught the imagination of people and critics across the world. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

How Lismore man ended up building million dollar furniture

THE life and work of master craftsman and Lismore man Geoff Hannah was featured in ABC's 7.30 Report on Tuesday night.

For more than 40 years Geoffrey Hannah has been creating cabinets in the style of traditional 17th century artisans.

His latest piece, the Hannah Cabinet, is his most personal and was the focus of the report.

"It was called the Hannah Cabinet because it was named in honour of my mother, father and brother. It took six and a half years to build, but what that reinforced, was that my love for myself was in my family," Mr Hannah told ABC.

"We lived just below a sawmill and you would get offcuts and muck around with that so I guess that's where the interest in wood would've come from I suppose - from an early stage."

He also revealed the story about his adoption.

"Mum and dad used to have a big tin painted green and every now and then when I was young I would rat through it. I was here one night ratting through it and I came across this folded bit of paper and it was an adoption paper.

"It was certainly a shock when I saw it and when I saw it was my name on there and I said to mum, 'What's this?'.

"And she said, 'But you're happy aren't you, love?', and from that day I've never talked to mum and dad about that."

Incredible on the tools, Geoff revealed in his interview as far as putting pen to paper went at school, "It just wasn't me".

"I got a job at Brown Jolly's and it was the start of my career.

"When I decided to go out on my own and start my own business, I told Rhonda (Geoff's wife) and she freaked out because we only had $34 in the bank and had two babies."

He said in those days it was all furniture restoration.

"The beginning of the real high-class cabinets started in an exhibition in the Opera House and everyone loved it. I've always kept that one.

"The next cabinet was the Yarralumla. Once that sold it meant I had some money. So I put some money back into the business and the rest we survived on until I designed the new one.

"The Hannah Cabinet is a bit Flemish style. There's nothing like it in the world as far as I'm aware of."

It took him about 40 hours to draw it on two huge sheets of ply.

"If you're going to make something like this and you're going to muck around about it and fool around, you'll never get to the end of it.

"What you bloody don't want to do is die halfway through it."

He told ABC it was "great to name it after someone who gave me the world".

Lismore Regional Gallery now has the unique opportunity to home The Hannah Cabinet and launched a campaign in September 2018 to raise the funds to buy it.

The Australia-wide campaign seeks 90 individuals or philanthropic and corporate supporters to sponsor one of the 140 drawers of the cabinet.

To make a donation or Sponsor a Drawer, visit www.hannahcabinet.com or email enquiries@hannahcabinet.com.



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